tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 10, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
trump is our new president,ly support him wholly and give him my feedback as i see it and hopefully he accepts it. if not, we'll continue to move in a direction that will accept us succeed. >> thank you so much for being with us. good luck tonight. as you see, i think frankly looking a little emotional talking to me. a lot of people feel that way. it will be a special moment for so many year across the country. thanks for watching. anderson is next. good evening from chicago. if carl sandberg were writing a poem today he might add a phrase or two to city of the big shoulders, something along the lines of launching pad for a president or writer of history. at mccormick place, president obama will look back on his time in the white house and by extension his place in the payments of american history. the president and first family arriving at o'hare on air force one about an hour and a half
ago. crowds have been lining up outside the hall since early this morning. some were no doubt in grant park not here from the president-elect's victory rally eight years ago. tonight will be the book end to that big moment and a big night with significant developments involving his successor, donald trump. we'll bring that to you. michelle kosinski joins us to start things off. what do we expect from president obama tonight? >> i don't think he's going to take a page or several from his early a speeches in chicago. he's going to try to impart optimism, try to inspire people. even coming off of this bruising election with america still reeling from it, with divisions laid pretty bare. this was the defeat for him too. i mean, his legacy is already under fierce attack. so he wants to leave on an optimistic note. from the few excerpts that the white house has released he wants to focus on american
values. he wants to look at where he came from. how he got the to where he is, what he still believes in. as he'll put it tonight, the only way change happens is when ordinary americans get together, work together, and demand it. >> do we know if he'll be touching on issues of race which he's been talking about more in these last few years of his presidency? >> campaigning for hillary clinton he tried to say america is not as divided as some would say. as the race was razor close he backed away from that, talking act trying to heal divisions. it sounds like he wants to talk about moving forward, healing those divisions, and to -- when he talks about american values,
he wants to hit upon diversity. >> the audience as they wait for the president listening to eddie vetter perform on stage. our panel. david axelrod, dana bash, gloria borger, ben le bolt. angela rise with us. jodie cantor, author of "the obamas. "john, let's start with you. this is not a campaign event or a good-bye to the country. he's 55 and has a long career ahead of him. what dukto you expect? >> one of the most fascinating
questions. three successive two-term presidents in the case of clinton and george w. bush and barack obama, three relatively young men when they took the job and when they leave. what will they do next? david and ben can fill in more. he is not someone who relishes day-to-day political combat and he's indicated he wants to step back and step forward when it's necessary. people in the hall are in a bad mood. they don't like what's about to happen in the inauguration of donald trump. most people want to celebrate the last eight years, not focus on november 8 president. i'm not sure he knows as to when he steps forward. >> david, how do you feel? >> it struck me when i picked up my credential that said farewell address of the president. i have a drawer full of
credentials that go back to the 2004 convention when he was the keynote speaker in iowa and new hampshire, two campaigns the years in between on the presidency. and to realize that this is the end of that particular part of the story is very moving to me and i'm sure to a lot of people here. >> it's also sort of a sad picture on the credential. i don't know if you can see this, but it's the obamas from behind kind of looking out from -- >> i don't want to oversell this because i do not anticipate a sad speech. i anticipate a speech that talks about the richness of our democracy and what we have to do to keep it vibrant in the future. these addresses historically getting back to george washington have been in part a review of where we've been but very much a focus on where we need to go and the advice the outgoing president has for the country. this is the opportunity he'll seize tonight. >> on the way here i was relistening to the podcast you
did, the interview david did with the outgoing president. it was fascinating to listen to. like being a fly on the wall with these two friends reminiscing 25 years. you talked about hope and change. and you said that hope and change thing, how is that going for you? obviously he was sort of kid bug not in that he did come in with the hope and change thing as sarah palin called it and had reality smack him in the face over and over again. the last reality of which is having somebody who disagrees with him on just about everything he pushed for for eight years coming in as successor. the fact he decided in summer he
wanted to this speech here and not in washington says about how he wants people to look at his presidency. >> i was talking about somebody else involved in the speech, not you, and this person said there is one thing i can tell you. it is not a policy speech. this is not a state of the union. this is not, okay, look at what we did. here are the ten great things i've achieved. this is in a way about hope and change for the future because i think he wants to leave on the same note that he came in on. that's not easy to do. particularly with these people who don't very optimistic about the next president. >> you know this president better than most. >> i don't think it will be a farewell speech because the obama presidency wasn't just about one person. it was about getting americans from different backgrounds involved in their democracy. i think we'll see it as a call
to action from my generation and the generation younger. we have to stay engaged. in some ways that's the answer to the trump presidency. this isn't just about one person. it will take all of us organizing in our communities, organizing at a national level to fight for what we believe in in core american values. >> i think the president has a choice to make in the next few months and years and we may see the beginning of the answer tonight. the ex-presidential tradition is sort of to get in the helicopter on inauguration day and fly away and really be very hands off and almost do like a quick retirement from american political life. however, this is an unusual moment in american history, confusing for a lot of people to think about what happened in the last election. the democratic party is sort of in meltdown with the election results, wants very badly to hear from both of the obamas, two of the only unifying figures left. the president has begun to indicate in interviews he wants to do some of the work of
rebuilding the party so he'll have that choice to make whether to remove himself more or engage more. >> i think it's important to -- as we interpret the meaning of this location, to recognize that he not only became the president-elect in grant park but his career began on the south side a few miles south of here as a community organizer with the belief that people can organize at the grassroots and make a difference in their lives. he wants people to walk that same path. he understands his journey is done in politics but he wants to encourage others to take up the work of bettering their communities and country. i think there's where his foundation is going to go.
>> democrats know what it feels like to lose hope. an interesting choice because he talks about this is where he found himself, came into his own. this is an opportunity to come into our own. not to lose hope. he'll continue to be a hope and change ambassador but first to lean into what america is supposed to be about. he has a great opportunity to do that tonight. >> he didn't have to be here in chicago to want. he could have made the speech anywhere but wanted to be in chicago. >> people are looking for a path forward, they don't know how to respond to donald trump. this is not what they were envisioning. they have to understand how to move forward with hope. >> this question of what he does
next, organizing or trying to invest the future of the party, the challenge is so enormous. when he burst onto the scene, he generationally leap-frogged democrats. at the convention in 2004, john kerry was the nominee, hillary clinton in waiting, john edwards, joe biden in waiting. we could talk about the number of democrats who thought they were the next national star of the party and they were an impressive group. now who is it? as the president himself has noted one of the problems for the party is in middle america, illinois, ohio, iowa. who's the next generation? is that barack obama who will come onto the scene or the young democratic governor who's come onto the scene? the party has been wiped out in the obama years. >> it's a problem for the democratic party. i remind people 4 1/2 years before he was elected president
almost no one knew who barack obama was. on the issue of where to go and the path forward, george washington made the first farewell address and his message was our greatest enemy is division, disunity. we need to come together. if we get into rivalries we're going to be weakened. part of this message is going to be we can be political opponents but at the end of day we're all americans and we ought to value what we have and honor that democracy. >> in one sense it's easier to
say good-bye and gave speech like this than it will be for the former president to navigate that role. bush stayed out of things and didn't go on the campaign trail and second guess him all the trail. for example, if there's a muslim ban and health care. how does he navigate that role in the future? when does he speak out without getting in the way? >> we have to take a quick break. a lot of news to get to in this hour. more on president obama's farewell speech about 45 minutes from now and his legacy. when we come back, allegations that russians have compromising material on the next president of the united states, donald trump. a story you won't find anywhere else.
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first a story on donald trump. jake tapper has that. >> cnn has learned the nation's top intelligence officials presented information to president-elect donald trump on friday and president barack obama on thursday about claims of russian efforts to compromise president-elect trump. the information was provided as part of last week's classified briefings, intelligence briefings regarding the russian efforts to undermine and interfere in the 2016 presidential elections. i worked on this story with jim sciutto, evan perez, and carl bernstein. they join me now. jim sciutto, what have we learned? >> this was a team reporting effort at cnn and multiple officials with direct knowledge of those briefings tell cnn that classified documents on russian interference in the 2016 u.s. election that were presented last week to president obama and to president-elect trump
included allegations that russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about mr. trump. they were part of a two-paged nop sis compiled by a former british operative considered credible. the fbi is investigatiing the correct and accuracy of allegations based on primarily information from russian sources but the fbi has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about mr. trump. the classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior most u.s. intelligence chiefs, director of national intelligence james clapper, james comey, john brennan and admiral mike rogers. the synopsis also included these allegations, that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between trump sur gaths and intermediaries for the russian
government. this according to two national security officials. the synopsis was included in the documents presented to mr. trump. we cannot confirm if it was discussed in his meetings with the intelligence chiefs as well. the trump transition team has not commented nor has the the director of the national intelligence or the fbi. >> for several hours we told the trump transition team about the story and they said they would have a statement for us, yet to provide it. when they do, we will provide it to you. just to underline, thisaddendum annex to the report on russian hacking, not part of the report in itself. >> that's right. the focus of the briefings was the intelligence and analysis behind the intelligence assessment it was the russian hack of the election and russia's intent was to help mr. trump. this synopsis, though, included in this briefing which shows its
important was not part of that overall assessment. >> what we have are allegations being made by russians that they have potentially compromising personal and financial information about donald trump and information, allegations that there were exchanges of information between the trump campaign and the russian government. so far the intelligence community has yet to corroborate these allegations so why even bring it up to president-elect trump and president obama? >> jake, there's a couple of reasons why we're told they decided to do this. the senior intelligence officials included the synopsis in part to make the president-elect trump aware these allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of congress, and other government officials in washington. the officials said that they also included it in part to demonstrate that russia had compiled information potentially harmful to both political parties but only released information damaging to hillary clinton and the democrats.
this synopsis but not part of an official intelligence community report about the russian shacks. but it augments the evidence moscow intended to harm clinton's candidacy and to help donald trump. several officials acknowledged in these briefings to cnn. >> fascinating story. let me bring in carl bernstein. carl, when we're all working together in the story, you brought this to us, this information the underlying memos that was included as an annex to the intelligence community report, the underlying memos did not start with u.s. intelligence or with the fbi or u.s. law enforcement. where dwid they come from? >> the underlying memos were produced by a former british mi6 intelligence operator in the
former soviet union. he had been hired by a research firm that does opposition research and this firm had been doing opposition research on the trump campaign, on donald trump, for both republicans and democrats opposed to the trump presidency. as this firm in washington started to look at trump's visits to russia, his business ties to russians and those of others in his family, they then took their information to this mi6 person in london, former mi6 person with whom they'd worked before, to see if he could further develop information. over the course of months he began producing reports and by august of 2016 he was sufficiently concerned by the substance of the reports to go to rome, turn them over to an fbi colleague, counterintelligence colleague in rome from the fbi, and it was
forwarded to the fbi in washington, these reports. subsequent to that, a former british ambassador to russia contacted john mccain and said there is this information floating around produced by this mi6 guy and a meeting was arranged between mccain and the mi6 -- a meeting was arranged between the former ambassador and mccain. at that point, mccain got the information shortly afterwards, the underlying memos. he then turned them over, the memos subsequent to the ones that had been turned over the fbi in august, mccain turned those over to fbi director comey personally in december on december 9th. now people are awaiting to see what the fbi and other investigators produce now that they have this underlying information. >> we reached out to the trump transition team to get a
response to the fact that these intelligence officials provided this information in a briefing to president-elect trump and to president obama as well as some senior congressional leaders suggesting that russians were making these claims. we have been trying to get a response from the trump transition team for several hours now. i'm told president-elect donald trump finally issued a response i think i can safely assume is about our inquiry. he quote, "fake news. a total political witch-hunt." okay. i'm not sure what that specifically addresses. the news we're bringing you is these intelligence officials provided this information to president-elect trump. if he believes it's a political witch-hunt, that's certainly his perspective. one of the things that's interesting is a lot of these allegations have been out there before, we vice president reported on them or discussed them, but what changed is of
course the fact that the intelligence officials, senior intelligence officials, brought them to this level of saying, hey, president-elect trump, you should know about this for the reasons evans e num rated. who else knows about these charges and allegations? >> you have u.s. intelligence agencies. they have not corroborated this but they are not dismissing these allegations or treating them as fake news. you have the fbi that has the not corroborated this but they are investigating. and you have to be clear, democrat and republican lawmakers who are pursuing this and in fact want to talk about hearings on this both to look at alleged communications between the trump surrogates and russian operatives during the campaign but also into the other personal and financial more salacious details. there are multiple outfits as it were in washington from both parties that are taking this at least seriously on the face of it. they haven't confirmed it.
in addition, we know that on the hill, the eight senior most congressional leaders, the four congressional leaders and the four majority and ranking members of the intelligence committees have also seen this. this is the so-called gang of eight. we can see based on some of the questions coming out in the hearing today for attorney general nominee sessions, they have not dismissed this out of hand either. >> evan, some of this information was floated last year. then senate majority leader harry reid sent a blistering leader in october to the fbi director saying that he possessed explosive information about communications between the trump campaign and the russian government and today now retired senator harry reid said -- spokesman said his statements speak for themselves. what changed. why is this now elevated? >> we know how harry reid is saying this is exactly what he was talking about when he sent
those letters and we know the fbi has been busy looking at those allegations including the allegations there have been surrogates of the donald trump campaign who were in touch with intermediaries of the russian government. now, none of this has been proven. none of this has gone anywhere in part because of the election. the fbi had to put a lot of this on hold and on simmer so to speak until after the election. now there's a renewed interest in, especially in light of the report from the intelligence community. i can tell you as early as last summer i began looking at some of these allegations and so it tells you something that these have been around in washington. again, we haven't confirmed them, but it is something that is being taken seriously and they'll have to get to the bottom of it. >> carl bernstein, let me ask you, the idea that intelligence chiefs, people at the level of the head of the cia, the head of the director of the national intelligence agency, that these individuals would bring this to
president-elect trump, to president obama, why would they do it? >> they want to see that there is an investigation done that is thorough and complete about whatever is there or is not there. and there obviously is some concern as a new administration comes in with new national security officials that perhaps there might be a disinclination to do the proper investigating. so they have laid down a marker, they've taken the information to the outgoing president of the united states, to the incoming president of the united states, and said, here it is, and we are going to make sure that this matter is investigated and it's not going to go away. i think it's very significant and it also does not say that they have expectations of what their findings will be but rather they're going to run it down and determine what the findings are. >> all right. carl, evan, jim, thank you so much. anderson, back to you in chicago. >> jake, thanks very much.
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and republican, black, white, hispanic, asian, native american, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. we are and always will be the united states of america. >> joining us more to talk about more about the legacy president obama leaves, the example and mark his administration as made, elijah cummings. thanks for being with us. tonight -- when you hear that clip of president obama's 2008 speech, the promise in his voice about an america where all things are possible, do you still think he still has as much hope now as he did then? >> i do, but i have to tell you, anderson, having sat at the top
democrat in the oversight committee to see the opposition that he had over the past many years, i'm sure he knows without a doubt something he said many times, change is hard and so i'm sure he has hope but i'm expecting tonight for him to have a very upbeat speech and i'm expecting him to -- one of the things i've admired about the president, he seems to have a keen sensitivity of his audience and the american people. i think one of the things he'll be trying to do is create a bridge to that future and give him a way to look at life so that they can be a part of the continuous change that he tried to do.
>> we are seeing an effort by the republicans in congress to repeal obamacare. obviously it can take decades for history to assess what a president's legacy is, how history will view him, but what stands out to you as the legacy of president obama? >> i think one of the things will always be obamacare, the affordable care act. i know it may have been beaten up by many but the fact is there are so many lives that have been saved and so many lives that have been touched. i think the other thing that wis many efforts with regard to civil rights. up with of the things the president has said off on the me, he doesn't want people, african-americans, hispanics,
others, to be fighting the same fight over and over again. he wants diversity to be known as our promise and not our problem. so i think again going out with a 56% favorability rating it will only go up. i think in the times to come, people will look back. i've said it on many shows they'll miss president obama. they're going to miss the -- michelle obama and they're going to miss the obama family. i am very, very proud of the president and very proud of his family. >> as the first african-american president, there are some who felt president obama didn't focus enough on issues particularly affecting ausm communities or speak about race relations as much as they wanted. what do you say to that? >> i have to remind people when he came in the country was losing 800,000 jobs so he had to get that recession under
control. keep in mind, he had to deal with the ebola crisis, the bp spill. i could go on and on. many of these things have been forgotten. he had a lot to deal with. then he put together a package i know he wished could have been more but he had all kinds of opposition going against him. he had to be president for the entire nation. but the fact that he brought down the unemployment rate substantially both in the general population and throughout the country, the fact that the has made a difference with regard to health care now with the affordable care act, some 20-plus million people now able to get the treatment they need to stay well, those are the kinds of things that mean something to people. those are the personal things. the fact that graduation rates have gone up substantially from high school. that's significant. i think people will look back and history will be favorable to
this great president. >> congressman cummings, appreciate your time. thank you very much. back with the panel as we're about 20 minutes away from president obama's speech. angela, you heard congressman cummings talking about what he believes the president's legacy will be. >> i'm certainly not going to pose one of my former bosses but truly i agree with what congressman cummings said. i worked for the cdc when we were dealing with a core issue at the time. we were hem ranling jobs not just in this country but particularly when it came to the african-american population here. he had the unemployment rate double the national average. people were frustrated and angry. the cbc launched a jobs initiative we asked the white house to participate in and the president declined. i remember personally feeling so hurt because i was, like, there's no other way for us to solve this. but the president went on to do things his own way and we ended up having a partnership for the american jobs act to push that forward. yet another example of
unprecedented republican instruction. they wouldn't even consider the bill and wrp hem ranling jobs. >> interesting now, democrats are facing the question do they try to do to this administration what they criticized the republicans doing to the obama administration. >> threshold question for democrats because there is so much anger about the way this president was treated and particularly people point out the fact senator mcconnell sat on the supreme court nomination for a full year or almost a full year and now is rushing through nominations for this president and presumably will do so with the supreme court nominee. democrats have to decide to we do to them what they did to us? i think it's a dangerous thing. i personally understand that sentiment, and i think on matters of principle democrats have to fight this administration. but if democrats take a position we're not going to cooperate on anything, we're in this sort of mad cycle of mutual destruction. >> i don't think they're there. i don't think that's what they're going to do if for no
other reason it's not how democrats operate and to be quite honest -- >> a point among some democrats -- >> i know, exactly, because they don't tend to do as well as republicans on the pure politics of it. i remember eight years ago, big on capitol hill, and obama came in, not just with a hugely popular, you know, approval rating but also a supermajority in congress. donald trump himself is in a very different position right now. he doesn't have that popularity. he has a razor thin majority in the united states senate and he has many republican who is will go up against him, never mind democrats. everything is scrambled. i think a lot of people are trying to look at the comparison and i think they're -- >> i just want to point out we are being told president obama has entered mccormick place so he is in the building. we're about 17 minutes away. >> it is a moment that calls for
humility if you're the president because you did not win the popular vote. you narrowly won the electoral college by the margin of 70,000 votes in three states, and it does call for a spirit of compromise. but i'm not sure we'll get that. >> the question is will we compromise and deal with his own republicans. to talk about the person who's going to speak here this evening, he has a 57% approval rating. barack obama can find a way to use that with democrats in the country taking on an agenda without directly challenging donald trump personally, i think he'll do that. i think democrats will look to him because as you were talking about earlier, who else do they have right now. they really don't have anybody
else. >> do you see ex-president obama, former president obama doing that, speaking out in the way that george w. bush did not? >> well, i don't think he's going to be a day-to-day pundit on cnn although i'm sure there are contract negotiations coming on from the network. i think what we'll hear tonight is asking for the next generation to get involved. there are more than 30 statehouses on the ballot in two years and if president-elect trump doesn't listen to public opinion he's going to pay a massive price at the polls in two years and lose the team they've been building up. political winds change quickly. i think president obama will be an outside advocate mobilizing his allies to take on those fights. >> anderson, i just want to push back on this idea of the ghost of the democratic bent. there are a number of young leaders who are rising and just haven't had the popularity. you mentioned, david, the fact nobody knew president obama was 4 1/2 years before his run. the new congressional black
caucus chair, fairly young, sharp lawyer, hakim jeffries, steering policy in the house. cory booker is one who testified against jeff sessions. there are a number of younger leaders rising and i think ready to answer the call. >> another quick break. more with our panel ahead. 15 minutes away from the president. president obama's farewell address scheduled to start in about 15 minutes. we'll be right back. my lineage was the vecchios and zuccolis. through ancestry, through dna i found out that i was only 16% italian. he was 34% eastern european. so i went onto ancestry, soon learned that one of our ancestors we thought was italian was eastern european. this is my ancestor who i didn't know about. he looks a little bit like me, yes. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at ancestry.com
well, it ends where it began, here in chicago. president obama's farewell address beginning minutes. in the eight years he's been president, his hometown has been weathering hard times, 762 murders, thousands of incidents of gun violence. president obama has spoken about gun violence in chicago, including just last week. >> it's been heartbreaking. you see what happens in chicago, and these are communities i know and love. and there are so many good people there, and there are people who i know have been personally affected by levels of violence. what i've done is assigned the justice department to work with the mayor's office and the police department in chicago to identify exactly what's going on and what do we need to do to fix it. i don't think there's any one
single perfect answer. but clearly, we as a community have to come together, and i look forward to being part of that conversation. >> well, since 1968, father michael flager has worked and ministered in the south side. it's good to see you again. president obama was active in neighborhoods like yours even before you went into politics, you know him well. did you hope you would do more than he has to try to counter the violence that's only increased since he took office? >> i guess i hoped more could have been done with the gun issue, obviously nobody was going to budge on that. he tried to push that as hard's could. i would have hoped more resources would have come to the south side of chicago. i think the reality is it would be easy to say that the south sides were failed by president
obama, but they've really been failed by america, by the system of america. and it's much bigger than the president. he's brought a much different tone to america and made a lot of big changes, but unfortunately, there are segm t segments of chicago and this country that still stand abandoned. >> there were more shooting deaths in 2016 in chicago than at any time since the early '90s, what's behind that rise, do you think? obviously, it's a complex issue, but you and i have talked about this before. but can you make sense of it? >> well, i think were a couple things we're seeing, anderson, one is the double digit unemployment, underfunded, underperforming schools, people coming back from prison with no hope, no job. $20 and a bus card, a lack of economic development. foreclosures, abandoned buildings. we see neighborhoods that look
like third world countries. and then there is the social media, that people are angry, and people are mad, and people are hopeless. and as that projects it rises to a new level and amps up to a new level and then the proliferation of guns. i say that all the time. you put two lions in a cage and you don't feed them, one's going to kill the other. these neighborhoods are going to kill each other. >> what do you hope to hear from president obama tonight? >> i hope to hear first of all, that he will bring us back together again as a country and keeping us focussed. right now, remember, the majority of this country is angry, mad, disappointed, and there's enormous amounts of this country that are afraid. and i'm hoping that president obama will charge, particularly, the millennials, the young adults of this country and young people in general, it's time for you to rise up.
it's time to stop waiting on a congress, waiting on a president, waiting on a federal government. it's time for young people to say, we are going to make this country be who we think it should be. so i hope he will bring hope to a people that are very angry in this country right now and also put a real charge to young people. it's on you now. i'll work with you, i'll support you, but now it's time for the young people to stand up really strong. >> father michael pfleger, i'll be listening along with you, joining me now is our panel. we haven't heard from you this evening, vacari, are you hopeful tonight? obviously, you're democrat, you supported president obama. you wanted hillary clinton to be the next president. >> i hope tonight i'm going to be able to drink from that spring of hope again. i think that a lot of democrats over the past two or three months since the election, since november 8th have opinion goibe
throu through, not just democrats, but a lot of republicans, have been going through despair. i've seen the racism, i've seen a member of congress saying that his wife had a fat butt, to sarah palin saying he should stop shucking and jiving, to people using the n-word. i've seen this man rise up time and time again. and he's leaving the country better than he found it. and to father pfleger's point, i think it shows that we, too, can be a part of the change we want to see, and anderson, i always think about that one picture i'll always remember from the obama administration, a 5-year-old from philadelphia who went in and wanted to see what the president's hair felt like. so the president bent over, and this young boy, he was dressed to kill. he was able to touch his hair, and for me, that symbolism is so
powerful. and tonight i'm going to go out of this building hopefully with a new sense of hope, still believing, not in this country was or is but what it can be. >> obviously, president obama is not just going to be here, but michelle obama will be here. we see her entering the hall, as mr. and mrs. biden, the vice president and his wife, dr. biden, are both here. we also expect to see, but we only will be hearing, obviously, from president obama tonight. i mean, you can't talk about president obama without talking about michelle obama, without talking about his family and the impact his family has had in the white house and on the country at large. >> can i say, no matter what you think of the obamas' politics, you look at that family. and you look at the way they have conducted themselves while in office, and you have to admire it. and you have to say there hasn't been one sort of ethical scandal
about the family or anything else. not a thing. and you look at them, and you say, they sort of define role model for american families. and also, in a way, his relationship with his vice president has become a role model for a president's relationship with somebody he works with. >> to the point of the family, i think if you go back eight years to the race, the 2008 election, there were some people who just couldn't fathom the possibility of people supporting him, that we were going to have the first african-american president. and people who opposed him and were terrified at the prospect. some people say race relations have been setback during his presidency. i think those who opposed him realize the white house is still there. we had an election, and somebody won, like it or not, we still had debates. they were amazing family in the
white house. i'm not smart enough to tell you the pulse of race relations, is it better or worse, i think in five or ten years, whether you disagree with health care or anything, in five or ten years, race relations in america will be better because we're still here, everything turned out just fine. >> it is not just, the rest of their life, michelle obama is a very young first lady. she's going to be in her mid-50s when they leave the white house. and almost from the beginning of their marriage, her life has been shaped by what her husband is doing. she's had to defer to his priorities. he's never going to run for anything again. the public demands hearing her voice. we may see an another career with her.
i asked them, how do you have an equal marriage while one person is president, and michelle obama said you really can't, but the quality of a maternal is measured over a really long time, and we're going to be married for long time, so it may be michelle obama's turn. >> and david axelrod isn't here right now, but he was asked how he has been able to stay so centered and calm through all the tumult that is politics, never mind a presidency. and his answer was sometimes you're just born that way, but also because of his wife. she is the rock. she is someone who keeps him centered, who keeps him grounded. and that's something we have seen, certainly, throughout the history of the presidency, but i think it is the most stark with this particular couple and this president. >> and, you know, we watch these children. we remember them when they were little. and they came into the white house. now they're eight years older, young women, going to college.
and it's as if they've grown-up before our eyes, because they have. >> you also think about michelle obama speaking at the democratic convention this summer, talking about seeing her daughters on, playing on the white house lawn, a house that was built by slaves. >> right. >> one of the most profound moments she had, actually, and i just can't emphasize this enough, that when you think about how so many black kids are raised with the standard. >> i want to point out, the national anthem is about to start at president obama's farewell address, from singer song writer bj the kid. let's listen. ♪ oh, say, can you see ♪ by the dawn's early light ♪ what so proudly we hailed
as the twilight's last gleaming ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ through the perilous fight ♪ o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallonant lstreaming ♪ ♪ and the rockets' red glare ♪ the bombs bursting in air ♪ gave proof through the night ♪ that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ oh, say does that
star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ o'er the land of the free, yeah ♪ ♪ and the home of the, of the brave ♪ [cheers and applause] >> and if you're just joining us, we are in chicago, about to hear president obama give his farewell address. it is 8:00 in chicago. the speech is expected to last about 35 minutes, after which, we'll talk with our panel and bring you highlights